Not All Swine-Flu Vaccine Skeptics Are "Anti-Vaxxers"

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Oct. 5 2009 6:26 PM

Not All Swine-Flu Vaccine Skeptics Are "Anti-Vaxxers"

Amanda , I agree with about 95 percent of your post on vaccines. The "anti-vaxxers" drive me a little nutty, whether the argument is from the left (vaccines are unnatural) or the right (the government can’t make me vaccinate my kids). You don’t want to vaccinate your kids? Great. I hope you like home-schooling. Because I don’t want my children caught up in a measles or whooping cough outbreak because they go to public schools with unvaccinated children.

All that said, I cop to a wee bit of nervousness about the swine flu vaccine. I’m not afraid of "conspiracy theories and government misbehavior" like Rob Stein writes about in the Washington Post . And it’s not about the cost or the time out of my day. I’ve dutifully lined up my three kids for all the vaccines their pediatrician throws at them, and we’ve had almost no side effects. But those vaccines have been used for years. The H1N1 vaccine is new, and trials started in early August , with trials on kids starting a couple of weeks after that. And let’s not forget that in 1976, during an outbreak of the swine flu, one person died from the flu and 25 from complications from the vaccine .


I know, I know. This flu strain is different, and this vaccine is supposed to be better , and early trials showed few side effects. Stein’s article quotes a flu vaccine expert from the Mayo Clinic as saying "People seem to be wired two ways. One group is wired this way: 'If there was something I could have done and didn't do and something happened, I would never forgive myself.' The other group is: 'If I do this and something happens, I'd never forgive myself.' "

Me, I feel like I’m in both groups, which makes for an impossible decision. Will my kids get the swine flu vaccine? Probably, assuming that my pediatrician thinks it’s safe. Will I personally? I dunno. But I think a lot of people are struggling with the same decision, and it’s not just the fringe.

Join the conversation. Follow DoubleX on Twitter .

Rachael Larimore is a Slate senior editor.



The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers


Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.


The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.